Sunday, October 21
Lots of Red Meat at Last Night's Candidate Forum
For a good part of the evening, I struggled with the best term to describe last night's event. Then I read GeeGuy's blog. Last night was certainly a forum for the anti-establishmentarians out there; both the candidates and the audience.
It was very disappointing that the incumbents, those that support them, and all of our local media chose to skip this forum. About three dozen people attended the forum, which was a 'debate' among Mary Jolley, Ed McKnight, Susan Kahn, Larry Steele and Stuart Lewin. And yes, most of the questions were about the coal plant.
However, these candidates responses among what ended up to be a mutual admiration society or campaign rally were still instructive. Quite frankly, I was horrified when Jolley, McKnight and Kahn suggested that the new commission spend its time investigating current city employees through use of its subpoena power.
Let me say that again. Jolly, McKnight and Kahn said that they want our commission to hold hearings and investigate current city employees over past acts. They want to exercise the commission's subpoena power, and they want to put people in jail.
I submit to you that we don't need a commission that spends our time and money making themselves into a Starr chamber. We have real problems in our city government and neighborhoods that need to be solved. Prosecuting a vendetta is not helpful to anyone.
Our city police department has been operating at less then full force for months, and I submit to you that this is part of the reason we have had a mini crime wave in the Lower North and South sides. Part of the reason for these department vacancies is not enough pay being offered to new recruits and current officers. However, a big part of the problem is that the city's recruitment officer, Lt. Lockerby, has had his hands full trying to run a dog pound. This is one of the unintended consequences when the commission goes half-cocked into ill advised adventures.
Lewin was actually the most reasoned and moderate of the candidates last night. He has it right; we need to move forward.